Named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Cotswolds region is extensive. It comprises land within the five counties of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. While each of these areas has its own identity, all share rolling hills (wolds), lakes, signature stone walls, bridleways and meandering footpaths. Expect arty and organic food scenes, with plenty of events and festivals, as well as historic sites, lively towns and arboretum.
Part of The Calcot Collection, Barnsley House and its famed garden is a magical place to eat and unwind. The Potager restaurant has a garden to plate ethos, as does the hotel’s own inn, The Village Pub. Stay in a hideaway suite, the garden cottage, or even a room at the pub. Watch a movie in the house cinema and bliss out at the intimate spa. Conveniently close to Cirencester and many attractions, Barnsley House is a chic, modern property that’s perfect for couples seeking some peaceful time together.
Whatley Manor’s 12 acres of land has been carefully formed into no less than 26 separate gardens. The Grade II listed building became a hotel in 2003 but dates back to the 18th century. Found in the hamlet of Easton Grey on the edge of Malmesbury it provides a base to explore the southern wolds. It houses 23 unique rooms, Aquarias Spa, bars and eateries. Winner of this year’s Great British Menu, Executive Chef, Niall Keating serves his banquets in the venue’s on-site restaurant and brasserie, and via the roaming ‘Paradise Carriage’ takeaway.
The Slaughters Manor House
Situated less than two miles from Bourton-on-the-Water in the picturesque Lower Slaughter with easy access to Cheltenham, The Slaughters Manor House features 19 rooms with rich fabrics, oversized beds and plush furnishing. Sleep in the main house or a courtyard room – many of which can be connected to form family rooms. Play tennis, croquet, boules and billiards for the stately home experience and dine in the hotel’s three rosette restaurant.
Perched on a working farm, where the northern Cotswolds’ border meets the Avon valleys is Eckington Manor. The family-owned and run hotel offers 17 bedrooms spread over four barns and outbuildings. The suites retain period beams, flagstones, wood stoves and antiques, combined with up to date materials and furnishings tastefully in keeping with the building’s age. Enjoy farm to fork cuisine in the 12th-century Dutch barn restaurant and take lessons at the Georgian manor’s own cookery school.
Kings Head Hotel Cirencester
If you’d rather stay somewhere central and buzzing with activity, the Kings Head Hotel has a host of amenities and attractions on its Cirencester doorstep. But there’s plenty to keep you from leaving the 46 roomed premises – a spa and cinema in the cellar, the elegant dining room, cosy bar, frequent events and live entertainment. The 14th-century building also contains the remains of a Roman mosaic, encased in glass in the lobby. Kids and dogs are welcome in this relaxed yet luxe inn.
Set among 400 acres of the Farncombe Estate in Broadway village, Dormy House makes for a divine spa getaway with a Veuve Cliquot nail bar, Temple Spa products, 16-metre sleek indoor pool, hot juniper sauna, experience shower, salt-infusion therapy room, rhassoul-mud room and outdoor hot tub. Interior-designer Todhunter Earle has infused a retro meets Scandi style in the 38 rooms and suites. Dine with a view in the Garden Room Restaurant and be sure to take a peek at the estate’s secret Japanese garden.
Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa
Enjoy an epicurean escape at Lucknam Park, at the Wiltshire side of the wolds. On its 500-acre estate, you’ll find the Michelin-starred Restaurant Hywel Jones, a brasserie, stables, indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, tennis courts, a croquet lawn, football pitch, spa, a cookery school, 27 rooms, 13 suites and two cottages. The hotel is super eco-friendly – a member of the Carbon Trust – and provides guests with the use of bicycles to explore the countryside minus pollution.